Understanding Muslim-American Views towards U.S. Law Enforcement

Why Greater Integration Can Lead to Expectations for Unfair Treatment
Migration and Citizenship. 4(1): 7-12. (Winter 2015/2016)

Over the past year, there has been no shortage of news coverage about U.S. law enforcement’s relationship with minority communities and the fairness of the American criminal justice system. While recent media events have largely focused on the tensions between poor African American communities and police forces, another community that continues to experience extraordinary attention from American law enforcement is the largely immigrant Muslim American community.

Much of my research examines Muslims' attitudes towards U.S. law enforcement in the post 9/11 security environment. Understanding attitudes about the fairness of the justice system is critical, as such views are known to color residents' perceptions of much of the rest of the political system (Lind and Tyler 1988). Police interactions with immigrants might be particularly impactful on their views, given their relatively minimal experience with the government as newcomers, and because exchanges with law enforcement are as close as many come into contact with government.

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